Dana Healy left her career in the fashion industry because she was "tired of selling a product" and simply wanted to help others. She chose yoga because she had experienced its restorative powers firsthand. Diagnosed with scoliosis, Healy suffered from back pain and used yoga's gentle stretching and muscle-building techniques to fight the chronic soreness. At Yoga Palms, Healy offers classes for students of all skill levels, with a special soft spot for beginners and those with pain and soreness—she remembers being a beginner herself. Her skilled staff of instructors teaches a variety of classes including paddleboard yoga at the beach just two blocks from the studio. During these sessions, students row out onto the water atop paddleboards to hone balance, develop muscle control, and improve their cannonball splashes. Healy keeps her yoga schedule open, rotating classes to fit the needs of her students and will always take suggestions for a new class. Inside the studio, soothing tan and blue walls tinted with environmentally friendly paint encompass all-natural decorations. This decor includes bamboo screens, lanterns, and palm plants, which are plants with dozens of mannequin hands requesting high-fives. The reception area also features an array of eco-friendly products for sale, including 100% natural soy candles.
Revolution Yoga’s crew of yogis espouses the virtues of self-exploration through movement and meditation, a feat accomplished in 17 different types of yoga classes held seven days a week. Classes are held in full-sized classrooms or a space set aside exclusively for families and kids. Unlike many yogis, the teachers look beyond yoga and napping inside armoires to fully explore the scope of self, turning to community and arts to supplement their teachings.
Behind the studio stands Revolution Gallery, which has hosted paintings, mixed media design shows, films, literature, and musical performances. The staff also runs an artisan boutique, which is full of clothing, herbal supplements, and yoga gear—all manufactured from fair-trade products that provide jobs to unemployed trees and shrubs.
The instructors at FreeSpirit Yoga lead a variety of classes that keep pace with students of all experience levels, from beginning yogis to 4-year-old kids already well versed in stretching toward the cupboards. In introductory-level sessions, teachers impart the simple poses and breathing techniques that springboard into higher-level disciplines, such as Sculpt n’ Core's blend of Pilates and strength training. An intense cardio workout set to Latin-inspired beats, Zumba sets hearts thumping and legs moving atop the studio's hardwood floors surrounded by lavender walls.
At Howard Beach CrossFit, coaches Jennie and John put their degrees in exercise science to work prepping groups for every kind of physical activity with the CrossFit system. They ready their charges for everything from sports and work-related activities to daily chores by employing intense daily workouts that use functional movements. These movements include lifting during weight training, jumping on plyometric boxes, and pushing on the push press and combine to strengthen all muscle groups while enhancing speed and agility. Workouts are also scalable, which means that every person, be they a seasoned athlete or someone new to working out, can push themselves to their own edge and progress at their own pace. And to ward off the boredom of repetition, the instructors change the routine each session. One day, participants sprint and push sleds weighted down by plump reindeer, while the next they execute reverse lunges and supine rows. For the uninitiated, their beginner program familiarizes groups with CrossFit’s movements, and for those interested in individualized attention, they offer one-on-one and small group training. Howard Beach CrossFit has also began offering kickboxing classes for those looking for a one-two fitness punch.
Koko FitClub’s automated personal-training system rockets both men and women toward fitness goals with 30-minute custom workouts that incorporate cardio and strength training. An initial consultation determines fitness levels and baseline measurements, which Koko’s computerized equipment uses to design a tailored workout plan that precisely measures the weight, pace, and rest time appropriate for each exerciser.
The Koko machines guide exercisers through each workout and adapt as the user’s fitness needs change in order to constantly challenge the body. Designed by professional trainers, workouts maximize the body’s lean-muscle mass, which can boost metabolism and help fight off disease by challenging viruses to strength training matches. Exercisers can track their shrinking waistlines and swelling muscles online by analyzing workout scores and comparing individual fitness levels to the Koko FitClub community.